Alex Mogilny's 1992-93: A Product of Pat Lafontaine?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Wee Baby Seamus, Jun 21, 2011.

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  1. Wee Baby Seamus

    Wee Baby Seamus Yo, Goober, where's the meat?

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    In 1992-93, Alex Mogilny, playing for Buffalo, put up incredible numbers of 76-51-127. The closest he ever came to that again was 20 points off. That same year, Pat LaFontaine, on a line with Mogilny, had 95 assists, along with 148 points. What I'm saying is that despite Mogilny being an incredibly skilled player, he never would've reached totals even remotely close to that without Pat Lafontaine. This is not a Lemieux-Brown comparison, but more of a Gretzky-Kurri.
    By the way, I am not comparing LaFontaine to Gretzky. I'm saying that in this scenario, he is Gretzky
     
  2. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    fun Lafontaine fact:

    Lafontaine was 2nd in assists this season... the only time in his career he was in the top-20 in assists.
     
  3. Wee Baby Seamus

    Wee Baby Seamus Yo, Goober, where's the meat?

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    In a career plagued by injuries. He only twice played a full season. He didn't play enough games per season to be able to crack the Top-20 in assists.
     
  4. Devils Mike*

    Devils Mike* Guest

    Mogilny made Lafontaine, not the other way around.
     
  5. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Would Lafontaine have reached assist totals remotely close to that without Mogilny? His total that year far exceeded his usual amount, just as Mogilny's goal total did. Why assume that it was Lafontaine that did the pumping up?
     
  6. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    My mistake. If you go by assists per game, he was 12th in 1992, 4th in 1993 and 18th in 1998.
     
  7. Wee Baby Seamus

    Wee Baby Seamus Yo, Goober, where's the meat?

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    Because that was Lafontaine's finest year, and also essentially his only healthy one. Had he been healthy in other seasons, it's quite likely he would've reached totals near that. In 1991-92, he had a 137 point pace, putting up 93 points in 57 games, while Mogilny's totals were much lower.
     
  8. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    naw, andreychuk made them both.
     
  9. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    This is still rather circular.
     
  10. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    It was also Mogilny's finest year, so couldn't that whole statement have been flipped around?

    Lafontaine played 74+ games 7 times. 74+ games isn't "injury riddled". He also played 65-67 three times which is getting into that territory. He was never a point per game player in those years so they aren't really "woulda, shoulda, coulda" years, either. 1991-92 is really the only season that qualifies as one of those. 1994 and 1995, sort of, but projecting based on that few games is almost unfair to the players who actually stayed healthy.
     
  11. Wee Baby Seamus

    Wee Baby Seamus Yo, Goober, where's the meat?

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    Fair enough. I do now realize that Mogilny could have made Lafontaine, and not vice versa
     
  12. TheMoreYouKnow

    TheMoreYouKnow Registered User

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    It's always a bit of a chicken or the egg argument. It's a team game.

    I always found Craig Janney and Adam Oates to be interesting cases in this regard as both played for Boston and St.Louis in almost a Freaky Friday role-switching scenario. You see claims like "Oates made Neely, Oates made Hull" but then you're more likely to see "Neely made Janney, Hull made Janney". Oates was better than Janney, but then this still doesn't tell us precisely about the distribution of merit in Janney's good seasons either.
     
  13. Wee Baby Seamus

    Wee Baby Seamus Yo, Goober, where's the meat?

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    Was this someone else, or was Craig Janney one of the top defensive forwards in the league for a while?

    (Edit: Nevermind I was thinking of someone else)
     
  14. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    1991-92:
    - Mogilny with Lafontaine: 32 goals in 45 games
    - Mogilny without Lafontaine: 7 goals in 22 games

    1993-94:
    - Mogilny with Lafontaine: 8 goals in 7 games
    - Mogilny without Lafontaine: 24 goals in 59 games

    1994-95:
    - Mogilny with Lafontaine: 11 goals in 21 games
    - Mogilny without Lafontaine: 8 goals in 23 games

    The 93-94 season is obviously a small sample, and there's not a huge difference in 94-95, but the 91-92 numbers are startling.

    Now give Mogilny credit: nobody else ever scored 76 goals on a line with LaFontaine. He knew how to score. And he had a monster year in Vancouver in 95-96. But he never came close to being as dangerous in any other situation or period in his career as he was for their time together in Buffalo.
     
  15. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Pat Lafontaine / Alex Mogilny

    This is being posted in the interest of fairness and accuracy to both players without choosing sides.

    1992-93 Sabres:

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/BUF/1993.html

    In the 1993 playoffs second round against Montreal, game three, Alex Mogilny suffered a badly broken leg. Viewed on TV it brought back images of Lawrence Taylor/Joe Theismann. Even though he recovered and came back to play the next season the speed, movement and quickness never returned to the pre injury level. Mogilny was never the same player during the remainder of a somewhat injury plagued career.

    Pat Lafontaine saw his career change due to injuries after the 1992-93 season.

    Both players played at a level where combined they were beyond any expectations.
     
  16. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Okay, now do the same thing with Lafontaine, with and without Mogilny.
     
  17. Mr Forever

    Mr Forever The Oilers :(

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    They made eachother, IMHO.
     
  18. Poignant Discussion*

    Poignant Discussion* I tell it like it is

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    Because 80% of his career was during the dead puck era
     
  19. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Looks more like 50% to me, though Lafontaine's figure is nowhere near that high.
     
  20. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    Lafontaine played in 74 plus games 5 times with the NYI up to the age 25 (when alot of players are still developing) and with a revolving door of wingers. He was a better scorer than pure playmaker IMO which shows in his finishes in both categories.
     
  21. MojoJojo

    MojoJojo Registered User

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    IMO, if Mogilny had been healthy he would be remembered as being a generational talent fully on par with or above Bure and Fedorov.
     
  22. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    Expectations for both players were extremely high and lack of support early on for Lafontaine and injuries later on derailed his fully reaching his vast potential.

    Ironically both are tied for GPG at .54 during Pat's career 84-98

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/pla...3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=goals

    Taking a quick look at Pat's wingers shows us that not only was there a revolving door but Mogliny was far and above the best winger he ever played with and Pat maybe tried to do it all too often.

    Injuries might have been part of the equation for Mogilny but he really suffered from bringing his luchbucket to match his world class skills to the rink every day. Maybe injuries were part of the equation.
     
  23. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    Fair point.
     
  24. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    this is probably true. i saw mogilny play in vancouver, when he had already lost some of his skating. he was a remarkable player.

    of the three, bure was the best pure goal scorer, not just in terms of shooting (mogilny had one of the best wrist shots i've ever seen) but in terms of having a killer instinct for scoring goals.

    fedorov had the best all-round hockey sense. he was also the best skater, though i think bure had quicker acceleration. fedorov was just a really efficient and beautifully fluid skater. his defensive ability and brains for the game speak for themselves.

    but i think offensively mogilny was the smartest. the best playmaker of the three, the most able to create offense out of nothing, and as he showed in toronto he could play decent defense if he wanted to. a healthy mogilny, i think, is a hall of famer. but that wrist shot, and his ability to get it off mid-stride was just amazing. better than sakic's, in my opinion.
     
  25. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    I think Lafontaine and Mogilny in 1992-93 was a mutually beneficial partnership between two players with absolutely incredible talent.

    In the case of Lafontaine, Buffalo represented a breath of fresh air. He was a frustrated player on the Island. And nobody could blame him. In those last three seasons, the lack of talent on Long Island was disturbing. Sure, they made the playoffs in 1989-90, but there were two reasons for that. Pat Lafontaine carried the team on his back. And the Patrick Division was truly pathetic that year. For that season, it supplanted the Norris as the worst division in hockey.

    Lafontaine just didn't have talent around him. It's hard to put up assists when your wingers are David Volek, Mikko Makela, Alan Kerr, a young Derek King, injury-prone Pat Flatley and past-his prime Don Maloney. It's remarkable that he did what he did with the talent around him. He slumped badly late in 1990-91, and everyone knew that it was protest play. He wanted out.

    The moment he arrived in Buffalo, he showed the hockey world what he could do with talent around him. Put Lafontaine on a power play with Hawerchuk at the point, Andreychuk in front and Mogilny to take passes. Put him at 5-on-5 with Mogilny. The only thing that could stop him was a Jamie Macoun high stick.

    Mogilny played with a level of passion in the second half of 1991-92, and in 1992-93, that he rarely showcased again. Yes, he had the big year in 1995-96, but he faltered badly down the stretch. For whatever reason, playing with Lafontaine brought out the best in Mogilny. The Mogilny of 1992-93 was the Mogilny we should have seen year-in, year-out. I've long maintained that he had the potential to be the next Lafleur: the gifted, dynamic, total offensive weapon who could completely alter the complexion of a game, or the course of a team's season. Mogilny had Lafleur's natural ability, but Mogilny didn't have Lafleur's flair or passion for the game. Mogilny is an incredibly intelligent human being, but he is a flake and a waif. But not in 1992-93.

    As the footnote, Lafontaine had one more great solo show left in him, in 1995-96, when he nearly scored at a 100-point clip, when teams could key on Lafontaine, or they could key on Randy Burridge, Derek Plante and Jason Dawe.

    The other footnote is that the Islanders became a pretty good offensive team after Lafontaine left. They acquired Turgeon and Benoit Hogue in the deal. They landed Steve Thomas in a separate deal. Pat Flatley managed to stay healthy. Once. And King rounded into form. It's not Mogilny, Hawerchuk and Andreychuk on a PP, but it's still vastly superior talent compared to Lafontaine's cry for help after the 1991 all-star break.

    Despite the lack of supporting cast for much of his career, Lafontaine still averaged roughly 45 goals per year in the eight years when he was healthy from 1986-87 to 1995-96. And once he had a supporting cast, the assist totals soared. When Mogilny believed that he had a centre worth of his enormous skill, Mogilny couldn't be stopped, either.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011

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